Nancy Pelosi’s Visit To Taiwan
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The most controversial and consequential visit in recent history took place this week. Nancy Pelosi, the United States Speaker of the House and second in line to the U.S. presidency, is the highest-profile elected U.S. official to visit Taiwan in 25 years, on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022. Many in Taiwan believe that this visit symbolizes the “rock solid” support from Washington while China regards the visit as a major provocation to set the region on edge. China’s military said it was on “high alert” and would “launch a series of targeted military actions in response” to the visit. After the 19-hour visit by Pelosi, China is putting on live-fire military exercises and announcing sanctions on Taiwanese products and banning export of natural sand to Taiwan. China is also going to fire missiles at the air defense identification zones (within 12 nautical miles or 22.2 kilometers of the island of Taiwan, a buffer of air space commonly referred to as ADIZ) on Thursday, August 4, 2022, to protest Pelosi’s visit on Wednesday. The military exercise areas announced by Beijing extend well into Taiwan’s ADIZ and in some cases encroach on Taiwan’s territorial airspace, according to Taiwan’s Defense Ministry. Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said 27 Chinese warplanes made incursions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, and 22 planes crossed the median line dividing the Taiwan Strait, an unprecedented number since Taiwan began publicly releasing information about China’s air incursions about two years ago,
Currently, there is bipartisan support in U.S. Congress to provide foreign military financing for Taiwan and selling more offensive military weapons to Taiwan going forward. This is all in accord with the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) explained in detail in the end of this post. There is also discussion of designating Taiwan as a non-NATO ally.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan is one of the most controversial and perhaps consequential visits to Taiwan in decades. She has now left the self-governing island, but the fallout remains. Bonnie Glaser, director of the Asia program at the German Marshall Fund, and Yun Sun, director of the China program at the Stimson Center, join Nick Schifrin to discuss the trip and what comes next, in the video published on Aug 3, 2022, “Tensions rise between the U.S. and China after Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan“, below:
Tensions are high between the U.S. and China as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrapped up her visit to Taiwan. Beijing condemned the trip and responded with military exercises. CBS News correspondent Adam Yamaguchi reports from Taiwan, the former U.S. national security adviser John Bolton joined CBS News’ David Begnaud to discuss the implications of Pelosi’s trip and the U.S. drone strike that killed al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, in the video published on Aug 3, 2022, “Speaker Pelosi’s Taiwan visit condemned by China“, below:
During a historic trip to Taiwan, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said her visit was intended to make it “unequivocally clear” that the United States would “not abandon” the democratically governed island. China responded to Pelosi’s trip launching military exercises, which China’s Ministry of Defense said began with drills in both the seas and airspace surrounding Taiwan. Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said 27 Chinese warplanes made incursions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, and 22 planes crossed the median line dividing the Taiwan Strait — an unprecedented number since Taiwan began publicly releasing information about China’s air incursions about two years ago, in the video published on Aug. 3, 2022, “Pelosi says US will ‘not abandon’ Taiwan as China begins military drills“, below:
The House speaker arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday despite repeated warnings not to from mainland China, which claims the island as its own territory, in the video published on Aug 3, 2022 “Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan prompts outrage from China|GMA“, below:
Ret. Gen. David Petraeus, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, tells CNN’s John Avlon why Chinese President Xi Jinping may try to avoid conflict with the US and Taiwan following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to the democratic, self-governing island, in the video published on Aug 3, 2022, “Ex-CIA chief predicts Chinese President’s next moves after Pelosi’s Taiwan trip“, below:
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has ended her controversial tour of Taiwan. Despite warnings from China, the most senior American politician to visit in 25 years pledged an ‘iron-clad’ commitment to the self-ruled Island’s democracy. Beijing is responding with live-fire military drills and import bans. So how will Taipei and Washington deal with the consequences? In the video published on Aug 3, 2022, “What’s the fallout from Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan?| Inside Story“, below:
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi became the first high-ranking American official to visit Taiwan in 25 years. The trip triggered a fiery response from China, including live fire military drills surrounding Taiwan, in the video published on Aug. 2, 2022, “U.S. Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan visit triggers fiery Chinese response“, below:
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan despite stern warnings from Beijing. CNN’s John King sits with Chinese ambassador to the US Qin Gang, who explains the controversial visit and implications this could have on US-China relations, in the video published on Aug 2, 2022, “Chinese ambassador: Pelosi’s Taiwan visit will escalate tensions“, below:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi addresses her recent trip to Taiwan, the controversy over her trip, the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act in the Senate and the FBI’s searching of Mar-a-Lago, in the video published as “Speaker Pelosi: China’s President Shouldn’t Control Schedules Of Congress Members“, below:
On Friday, August 5, 2022, Chinese Punishment Resulting From Pelosi’s Visit To Taiwan, below:
- Suspend climate change dialogue
- Cancel talks between military officials
- Cancel mechanism to discuss operations
- Sanction Pelosi and her family
For the first time since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, Beijing retaliated against the United States, cutting off dialogue on multiple topics including climate change and sanctioning Pelosi and her family. China also launched the largest military exercise around Taiwan in more than 25 years. Bi-khim Hsiao, Taiwan’s most senior official in the U.S., joins Nick Schifrin to discuss, in the video published on Aug 5, 2022, “Taiwan’s top diplomat in the U.S. discusses escalating threats from China“, below:
For Taiwan Relations Act mentioned in more than one videos above, please refer to the excerpt from wikipedia, in italics, below:
The Taiwan Relations Act (TRA; Pub.L. 96–8, H.R. 2479, 93 Stat. 14, enacted April 10, 1979) is an act of the United States Congress. Since the formal recognition of the People’s Republic of China, the Act has defined the officially substantial but non-diplomatic relations between the USA and Taiwan.
In 1978, the People’s Republic of China claimed to be in a “united front” with the U.S., Japan, and western Europe against the Soviets and thus established diplomatic relations with the United States in 1979, supported American operations in Communist Afghanistan, and leveled a military expedition against Vietnam, America’s main antagonist in Southeast Asia. In exchange, the United States abrogated its mutual defense treaty with the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan.
The ROC government mobilized its ethnic lobby in the United States to lobby Congress for the swift passage of an American security guarantee for the island. Taiwan could appeal to members of Congress on many fronts: anti-communist China sentiment, a shared wartime history with the ROC, Beijing’s human rights violations and its curtailment of religious freedoms.
Senator Barry Goldwater and other members of the United States Congress challenged the right of President Jimmy Carter to unilaterally nullify the Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty, which the United States had signed with the ROC in December 1954 and was ratified by the U.S. Senate in February 1955. Goldwater and his co-filers of the Supreme Court case Goldwater v. Carter argued that the President required Senate approval to take such an action of termination, under Article II, Section II of the U.S. Constitution, and that, by not doing so, President Carter had acted beyond the powers of his office. The case ultimately was dismissed as non-justiciable, leaving open the constitutional question regarding a president’s authority to dismiss a treaty unilaterally.
The Act was passed by both chambers of the United States Congress and signed by President Jimmy Carter in 1979 after the breaking of relations between the United States and the Republic of China on Taiwan. Congress rejected the State Department‘s proposed draft and replaced it with language that has remained in effect since 1979. The Carter Administration signed the Taiwan Relations Act to maintain commercial, cultural, and other relations through the unofficial relations in the form of a nonprofit corporation incorporated under the laws of the District of Columbia – the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) – without official government representation and without formal diplomatic relations. The Act entered retroactively into force, effective January 1, 1979.
Definition of Taiwan
The act does not recognize the terminology of ‘Republic of China’ after 1 January 1979, but uses the terminology of “governing authorities on Taiwan”. Geographically speaking and following the similar content in the earlier defense treaty from 1955, it defines the term “Taiwan” to include, as the context may require, the island of Taiwan (the main Island) and the Pescadores (Penghu). Of the other islands or archipelagos under the control of the Republic of China, Kinmen, the Matsus, etc., are left outside the definition of Taiwan.
De facto diplomatic relations
The act authorizes de facto diplomatic relations with the governing authorities by giving special powers to the AIT to the level that it is the de facto embassy, and states that any international agreements made between the ROC and U.S. before 1979 are still valid unless otherwise terminated. One agreement that was unilaterally terminated by President Jimmy Carter upon the establishment of relations with the PRC was the Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty.
The act provides for Taiwan to be treated under U.S. laws the same as “foreign countries, nations, states, governments, or similar entities”, thus treating Taiwan as a sub-sovereign foreign state equivalent. The act provides that for most practical purposes of the U.S. government, the absence of diplomatic relations and recognition will have no effect.
The Taiwan Relations Act does not guarantee the U.S. will intervene militarily if the PRC attacks or invades Taiwan nor does it relinquish it, as its primary purpose is to ensure the US’s Taiwan policy will not be changed unilaterally by the president and ensure any decision to defend Taiwan will be made with the consent of Congress. The act states that “the United States will make available to Taiwan such defense articles and defense services in such quantity as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capabilities”, and “shall maintain the capacity of the United States to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or social or economic system, of the people of Taiwan”. However, the decision about the nature and quantity of defense services that America will provide to Taiwan is to be determined by the President and Congress. America’s policy has been called “strategic ambiguity“, and it is designed to dissuade Taiwan from a unilateral declaration of independence, and to dissuade the PRC from unilaterally unifying Taiwan with the PRC.
The act further stipulates that the United States will “consider any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means, including by boycotts or embargoes, a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific area and of grave concern to the United States”.
The act requires the United States to have a policy “to provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character”, and “to maintain the capacity of the United States to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system, of the people on Taiwan.” Successive U.S. administrations have sold arms to Taiwan in compliance with the Taiwan Relations Act despite demands from the PRC that the U.S. follow the legally non-binding Three Joint Communiques and the U.S. government’s proclaimed One-China policy (which differs from the PRC’s interpretation of its one-China principle).
Reaction and reaffirmation
The PRC aligned itself with the Third World countries rather than with the United States or the Soviet Union, engaging itself in various movements such as nuclear non-proliferation that would allow it to critique the superpowers. In the August 17th communique of 1982, the United States agreed to reduce arms sales to Taiwan. However, it also declared that it would not formally recognize PRC’s sovereignty over Taiwan, as part of the Six Assurances offered to Taipei in 1982.
In the late 1990s, the United States Congress passed a non-binding resolution stating that relations between Taiwan and the United States will be honored through the TRA first. This resolution, which puts greater weight on the TRA’s value over that of the three communiques, was signed by President Bill Clinton. Both chambers of Congress have reaffirmed the importance of the Taiwan Relations Act repeatedly. A July 2007 Congressional Research Service Report confirmed that U.S. policy has not recognized the PRC’s sovereignty over Taiwan. The PRC continues to view the Taiwan Relations Act as “an unwarranted intrusion by the United States into the internal affairs of China”. The United States continued supplying Taiwan with armaments and China continued to protest.
On 19 May 2016, one day before Tsai Ing-wen assumed the democratically elected presidency of the Republic of China, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R–FL), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and Bob Menendez (D–NJ), former chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and co-chair of the Senate Taiwan Caucus, introduced a concurrent resolution reaffirming the Taiwan Relations Act and the “Six Assurances” as cornerstones of United States–Taiwan relations.
The 2016 Republican National Convention in the Republican Party Platform states “Our relations will continue to be based upon the provisions of the Taiwan Relations Act, and we affirm the Six Assurances given to Taiwan in 1982 by President Reagan. We oppose any unilateral steps by either side to alter the status quo in the Taiwan Straits on the principle that all issues regarding the island’s future must be resolved peacefully, through dialogue, and be agreeable to the people of Taiwan. If China were to violate those principles, the United States, in accord with the Taiwan Relations Act, will help Taiwan defend itself… As a loyal friend of America, Taiwan has merited our strong support, including free trade agreement status, the timely sale of defensive arms including technology to build diesel submarines…”
Gathered, written, and posted by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker More about the community at www.WindermereSun.com
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